Great Article on New Fish Freeway

It is posted on Susan Maxwell Skinner’s Facebook page.

An excerpt.


“A two-year, $9.7 million project extending Nimbus Hatchery’s famous fish ladder into Nimbus Basin is half complete. The hatchery’s 65-year-old ladder will soon serve for a final season and the new passage will open next summer.

“Existing hatchery steps rise for a fraction of the 1,900ft channel currently under construction. Via a circuitous route, the new piscine freeway will conduct Chinook salmon and steelhead to hatchery processes that began after Nimbus and Folsom Dam were built. In the Department of Fish and Wildlife facility, eggs and milt are harvested for artificial fertilization. Edible fish meat is saved for food closet distribution and in spring, millions of fry are released. Once endangered, Chinook adults now return in reliable numbers for fall breeding.

“The current ladder system employs connected pickets to divert fish to hatchery steps. Though many adults spawn and die before reaching this weir, the altered American River provides insufficient breeding sites. In mitigation, many thousands of salmonids are annually processed at Nimbus. Hell-bent on reproduction, their end-of-life journey through Carmichael, Fair Oaks and Gold River provides an autumn spectacle for nature lovers. In preparation for the 2020 run, weir pickets were recently lowered. When water temperatures reach November frigidity, ladder gates will open and the hatchery’s vital work will resume.

“Upstream, the new ladder entrance has already been built. Engineered by the Bureau of Reclamation, the massive extension project begins near the south side of Nimbus Dam. Migratory fish will next year gain an extra quarter-mile of river for natural spawning; those that reach the dam unfulfilled will be lured by churning water to a rock-lined flume. Swimming gradually uphill, they’ll encounter a pond and steps. Lookouts (including an underwater window) will enhance visitor views. “We’ve wanted a submerged window for ages,” approves Nimbus interpretive specialist Laura Draft. “Fish anatomy and adaptations are more visible underwater. This makes for more exciting visitor experiences.”

Retrieved August 31, 2020 from

Be well everyone!

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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